June 15, 2023

Visa-free Travel to Canada from 13 countries

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has recently  made an announcement regarding visa-free travel to Canada for passport holders from the below 13 countries:

  • Philippines
  • Morocco
  • Panama
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Uruguay
  • Seychelles
  • Thailand

This implies that the passport holders from these 13 countries would not require a Temporary Residence Visa to travel to Canada. However, they must either hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa or must have held a Canadian visa within the last ten years.

The minister claims that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been attempting to simplify, expedite, and lower the cost of the pretravel screening procedure. According to him, this choice will allow IRCC to process visa applications more quickly and efficiently by diverting thousands of applications from Canada’s visa caseload.

Visa-free travel to Canada

Travellers from over 50 nations can visit Canada visa-free, albeit most of them need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if they are arriving by air.

The citizens of the United States do not require a visa or an eTA to enter Canada unless they are moving to Canada for further education or work opportunities.

Citizens of those nations that are not exempt from obtaining a visa, need to apply for a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV), also known as a visitor visa.

A TRV gives permission to a person to visit Canada for a period of six months (although this may differ for some foreign nationals).

The holder of a TRV may be asked to provide proof that their visit to Canada is transitory (such as travel or family visits) at their port of entry. Arriving in Canada with a TRV does not grant the holder authorization to pursue a job or a degree of education there.

There is currently a backlog of TRV applications that IRCC is tackling. According to the IRCC’s most recent backlog data, 50% of TRV applications are not being handled within the stipulated 14-day period.

According to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, the recent strike by the Public Service Alliance of Canada has had a huge impact on the processing of the TRV applications. Over 100,000 applications were left unprocessed during the 12-day strike that lasted from April 19 until May 1. He anticipates IRCC will be able to catch up to pre-pandemic processing norms within the next few weeks or months.